How to Define Comfort in a Home
We all want a comfortable home where we can unwind, relax, and release the stresses of the day, but what exactly defines comfort in a home? Many factors of a home’s design can contribute to a family’s peaceful state of mind: the indoor climate, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), safety, decor, and manageable long-term costs can help create a comfortable, relaxing home.
Seven Tips for Creating a Comfortable Home
Fox Blocks presents seven tips to help you optimize the comfort of your home:
1. Thermal Climate Comfort
Thermal climate plays a significant role in maintaining a comfortable home. Controlling the thermal climate of the home requires a design that manages the temperature, humidity, and radiant temperature within the house.
Most people prefer an indoor temperature range of 70 to 80℉ (21 to 27℃) for optimum comfort. Maintaining a comfortable temperature requires a home with a tight building envelope (with continuous insulation (CI) and an air and moisture barrier) and a good heating and cooling system.
The humidity level impacts how comfortable we feel at a particular temperature. For example, a 30 to 70 percent humidity level will contribute towards a comfortable indoor climate at 70 to 80 ℉. However, we can tolerate a slightly higher temperature by keeping the relative humidity below 50 percent.
Managing Mean Radiant Temperature
The rate of exchange of thermal radiation with your surroundings (windows, walls, doors, etc.) can significantly impact the comfort of your home. For instance, poorly insulated walls or single-pane windows with low mean radiant temperatures will suck heat from your body, lowering your thermal comfort.
Ensure Thermal Comfort with Fox Blocks ICFs
Fox Blocks Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) contribute significantly to a home’s thermal comfort by wrapping the entire house (above- and below-grade) with continuous insulation and an air and moisture barrier, as mandated by the 2018 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1.
High thermal mass ICFs (R-value of 23) produce a tight building envelope and a high mean radiant temperature for a comfortable home. Simple to install, ICFs stop thermal bridging and the flow of heat by conduction. ICF also exceeds ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements for all climate zones. The Fox Blocks' solid monolithic concrete wall, with a perm rating below 1.0, controls humidity by resisting moisture infiltration and accumulation into the wall.
2. Healthy Indoor Air Quality
Families spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, making good air quality essential to their comfort and health. The design of a home with good air quality must resist moisture, exclude sources of pollution, and provide adequate ventilation.
Preventing Moisture Accumulation
If moisture becomes trapped in the interior of the walls, it can form unhealthy mold, degrading the home's air quality. Therefore, to ensure good air quality, a house’s design must prevent moisture from infiltrating the above- and below-grade walls.
Designing for good air quality includes building products that lack harmful substances like volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs cause nose, eye, throat irritations, headaches, nausea, and damage to the kidney, liver, and central nervous system.
The homes built today are very air-tight and ventilation is a very important attribute for a healthy and comfortable home. The importance of maximizing the circulation, changing the indoor air with fresh-conditioned outdoor air, and lowering the concentration of indoor air pollutants and household moisture is paramount. Ventilation makes the occupants feel more comfortable, stabilizes the indoor temperature and humidity, making the indoor environment healthier.
The most common method to improve the IEQ and balance the air circulation is by installing an energy recovery ventilation system (ERV or HRV).
In addition, bathrooms and kitchens require exhaust fans to remove contaminants directly. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) suggests a ventilation rate of 0.35 air changes per hour for new homes.
Improving Air-Quality for a Comfortable Home with Fox Blocks
The Fox Blocks ICF wall system contributes to an air-tight building envelope allowing for better control of the indoor environment for healthy and good air quality. Easy to install ICF resists degradation from moisture and lacks toxins, all of which diminish indoor air quality.
3. Controlling Noise
Minimizing noise contributes tremendously to a home’s comfort. A noisy home setting can not only annoy a family but it can also lead to depression and anxiety. Moreover, intermittent noise can significantly reduce one’s ability to perform tasks.
Controlling Noise with Fox Blocks ICFs
Fox Blocks ICF provides an above- and below-ground wall system with high sound reduction and excellent acoustics, ideal for exterior walls and interior spaces like media rooms and home offices. The Fox Blocks Series achieves a high ASTM E90 Sound Transmission Classification (STC) rating of greater than 50.
A safe and secure home contributes significantly to a family’s overall comfort. Simple things like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor in your home and creating a plan with your family in case of an emergency can significantly increase your peace of mind. Consider building a safe room in case of an emergency, like a tornado, along with selecting building products that protect against the spread of fire.
Building a Safe and Comfortable House with Fox Blocks ICF
Fox Blocks ICFs provide a reinforced concrete building envelope for superior wind- and fire resistance for either a home or safe room:
Homes or safe rooms constructed with Fox Blocks ICFs maintain their integrity during intense winds above 200 mph. They also resist projectile debris flying over 100 mph.
5. Visual Comfort
Visual comfort brings a sense of calm and tranquility to a home. Therefore, a comfortable home design should include many natural light and external views that bring nature into the house.
6. Comfortable Decor Schemes
You can add comfort and charm to your home by selecting the right colors, styles, textures, and patterns for your interior design. Light greys, pale blues, and nature’s colors give a soothing feel to a space, while yellows and soft ambers can add comfort and a relaxing feel to a room. Adding texture with a plush rug, wall art, and chair molding will add charm and coziness to the interior of your home.
7. A Comfortable Home Has Manageable Costs
High long-term costs will tremendously impact the comfort level of most homeowners. To avoid the stress of unmanageable utility bills, maintenance costs, and repair bills after a natural disaster, homeowners should select energy-efficient, durable, and disaster-resistant building products, like Fox Blocks ICFs.
Energy-efficient ICFs require 44 percent less energy to heat and 32 percent less energy to cool than similar wood-framed homes. In addition, moisture -, wind-, and pest-resistant ICFs can save thousands of dollars on maintenance and repairs, compared to simpler wood-framed houses.
In addition, a properly installed high-efficiency heating and cooling system saves money because it lessens energy consumption.
Let Fox Blocks Help You Create a Comfortable Home
Building a comfortable home will provide your family with a much-needed sanctuary from the hectic non-stop world. Vital features of a comfortable home include thermal comfort, healthy indoor air quality, and good acoustics. Fortunately, Fox Blocks ICFs can provide these features while keeping long-term costs for utilities, maintenance, and repair under control. In addition, your choices in interior decor and window placement can add comfort and coziness to your home.
Review the Fox Blocks website to learn more on the benefits of ICFs for comfort, plus access the NRMCA ‘Build with Strength Website for more information on the resiliency of concrete.